Just about everyone has heard of the “parable of the prodigal son.” And many of us have heard several different sermons preached about that parable. There seems to be something different to take away from it from many perspectives. Today, we will look at the story from the viewpoint of what happened to the younger son.
It begins with the younger of two sons asking for his father to give him his share of the inheritance that he was to receive. So the father, though he had no requirement to do so, divided their property then and gave him his share. The older son, according to custom, would receive a double portion.
The younger one took his belongings, and traveled to a far off country; and he wasted his inheritance in what the scripture terms “reckless living.” After a famine occurred in the country, he had to go to work feeding pigs; and his situation became so desperate that even the pods that he was feeding the pigs began to look good to him. These pods were from the carob tree. It is only the husks that were actually edible. The seeds inside are too hard to be edible. The husks can be ground into a type of flour that has a quality like chocolate, and in fact, carob is used by many today as a substitute for chocolate. But they were usually only eaten by the poor when times were most desperate – or for feeding pigs, of course.
This younger son at this point realized how much better off he would be back at his father’s home – even by offering himself as a servant, rather than a family member. He resolved to go back and beg his father to allow him to come back under just those conditions; and he even rehearsed how he would ask for this. He realized that his circumstances were entirely his fault, and that his father had no obligation even to give him a place to stay (much less feed him) as a servant.
The younger son realized something that may not occur to us when we stray. As sinners, if we have no repentance in our hearts and our lives, God has no obligation to even hear our prayers. He may choose to do so. But he has made no promise in that respect. What a dreadful situation to be separated from God, and unable to present our petitions to Him because of the condition of our hearts. But it is evident that the results of his sin have caused a change in his heart.
Next, we’ll look a little closer at what happened when he goes to his father with this change of heart, and what that means to the elder brother.
(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.